With the vast majority of closed-loop water-cooling kits based on either Asetek or CoolIt designs, Cooler Master’s in-house-designed Seidon 120M easily stands out from the crowd. At just $70, it’s one of the more affordable kits we’ve seen, too, and though it’s not the answer to our cooling prayers, it proves you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a decent water cooler.
Cooler Master says that the Teflon tubing on the 120M minimizes water evaporation.
Like its competitors, the kit includes all the usual ingredients: a prefilled aluminum radiator with a 12cm fan, a copper contact plate, two tubes to shuttle coolant back and forth, and a pump built directly into the CPU water block. Though the Seidon 120M looks a lot like Asetek-designed coolers, its water block/pump apparatus is noticeably more low-profile than others we’ve tested.
Installing the water cooler was, for the most part, a drama-free affair. The 120M features a universal backplate with pre-attached screws (for use with sockets other than LGA2011). Even the retention clips include pre-attached and easily adjustable screws. We ran into a little trouble differentiating between the AMD and Intel clips, and it would have been nice if they were labeled (either the clips themselves or the bags they came in), because the Intel and AMD parts look confusingly similar. Once we eyeballed the clips next to the sockets to figure out which was which, we had no trouble attaching the clips to the base of the water block and securing them to the backplate, and then mounting that on top of the CPU’s heat spreader. Attaching the radiator to the chassis was also a walk in the park, as we used the included screws to mount the fan to the radiator and the radiator to our Level 10 GT chassis. The last step was to simply plug the power cable from the pump into the CPU header, and to connect the 12cm fan’s PWM connector to a fan controller.
Once installed, the fan was very quiet with Q-Fan enabled in the BIOS, but under a heavy thermal load at 4.2GHz on our Core i7-3960X, it didn’t perform much better than a Hyper 212 Evo air cooler. When we ran the system at full speed, however, cooling performance improved dramatically, running six degrees cooler under load but still 1 C hotter than the dual-fan Thermaltake Water2.0 Pro. To its credit though, the Seidon was quieter at full tilt than the Water2.0, which sounded like a wind tunnel.
Though the Seidon only comes with one 12cm fan, we added a second Thermaltake fan to test a push-pull configuration and saw a dramatic performance boost, putting it on par with the more-expensive Water2.0 Pro, but sadly its noise output was equally loud.